Anniversaries in 2017

Luther95thesesThe new year will mark some important anniversaries.  The biggest will be the 500th anniversary of Luther’s posting of the 95 theses and thus the beginning of the Reformation.  The significance of that event–not just for theology but for culture, education, socio-economic change, and the overall history of Western civilization–will be intensely debated, especially as October 31 approaches.

Was the Reformation a good thing or a bad thing?  A high point of Christianity or the beginning of its decline?  A recovery of ancient Biblical truth or the beginning of the modern era?  We Lutherans have a special stake in all of this, of course, and we should use this attention as an opportunity to make our message–namely, the Gospel–clear.

After the jump, consider some other important anniversaries in 2017.   [Read more…]

Fidel Castro is dead

CastroFidel Castro died at the age of 90, outlasting most of his Cold War adversaries.  But he lived to see Cuba achieving normalized relations with the United States, something he didn’t seem to completely approve of.  That was the doing of his brother Raul, to whom Fidel surrendered power ten years ago.

Fidel remains a romanticized and idealized figure for some on the left.  (See, for example, the recent case of 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s Castro T-shirt.)  But the Communist dictator was responsible for killing thousands of Cubans, including brutal repression of Christianity.

[Read more…]

Don’t know much about history

A study has found that quite a few young Americans are open to Communism.  And one out of three believe that George W. Bush killed more people that Josef Stalin.  See the specifics here.

Read a report on the findings after the jump, whereupon I will try to explain why this is. [Read more…]

How the KGB created Liberation Theology

Liberation Theology, which teaches that Christianity demands radical social and economic change, is a major movement in modern theology.  It has been especially influential in Latin America where it created alliances between Roman Catholics and Marxist revolutionaries.  Now a former Soviet intelligence agent says that Liberation Theology in its entirety, from its formulation to its promulgation, was a creation of the (atheist) KGB! [Read more…]

The Twelve Principles of Conservatism (from 1960)

I blogged about the death of M. Stanton Evans, one of whose accomplishments was to draft “The Sharon Statement” articulating 12 principles that would serve as rallying points for the conservative movement in the 1960s.  The Intercollegiate Studies Institute has published them in an attractive graphic, which I reproduce after the jump.

Read it and consider:  Are these statements still relevant to today’s issues over fifty years later?  Are they enough to bring together conservatives of different stripes today?   Are there any additional or different issues that need to be addressed for our time?  For example, this says that the major threat to liberty today is communism, and that we must work for victory rather than co-existence over this threat.  Well, that victory was won.  What would be the major threat to liberty today?  Radical Islam?  Big government?  New left wing ideologies?   What other statements would you suggest adding to this list? [Read more…]

The street and the altar

The Lutheran pastor, Christian Führer, whose prayer meetings became a catalyst for the protests that overthrew Communism in East Germany died Monday at age 71.

I was struck by this quotation from him:  “It is not the throne and the altar, but the street and the altar that belong together.”  That’s an interesting version of the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms.   That concept is often taken to refer just to the relation of the church to earthly governments.  That’s part of it, but I think it applies more broadly to society and culture as a whole, where God is also active in vocation and in caring for His creation. [Read more…]